7 Good Things for the Holidays:
1. Bahlsen's Contessa cookies. Candied orange, ginger spice, almond perfume, chocolate. With a cup of cinnamon-orange Christmas tea, late winter afternoon perfection.
2. Free (if you bring your own skates) ice skating to Glenn Miller swing at the seasonal ice rink in Bryant Park.
3. June Taylor's English Christmas cake. Bring me this luscious brandied fruitcake for Hanukkah, along with a tea table in front of a fireplace so as to enjoy it in the appropriate setting. And perhaps a maid wearing this to serve it.
4. Latkes, latkes, latkes. With sour cream and applesauce, borscht and rye bread and raisin pumpernickel from Orwasser's to make them a meal.
5. Roast chestnuts on the street. Hot-pretzel vendors used to add these to their wares in the winter, sending a distinctive smoky-sweet aroma into the chilly air. You paid a couple of bucks and you got a little paper bag shoveled full of warm roasted chestnuts, their skins half peeled back so you could get into the hot, mealy-sweet nuts without having to take off your gloves. In Bologna, it was common to find little old men roasting chestnuts over drums of coals in any public square during December. Lately, though, they've been all but replaced by those noxious sugary nuts. We're going to look hard on our way to the Bergdorf's windows, though.